Global Licensing Trends in Traditional Toys and Games

April 2013

Licensing is a key parameter affecting toys sales globally.7 out of the top 10 most heavily licensed traditional toys and markets are in Asia Pacific, and in almost all these markets the proportion of 0-14 year-olds in the total population was below 20% in 2012, suggesting that the grown-up population also has a say in which licensed toys are purchased. As toy brands penetrate into other industries beyond toys and games at a faster pace, there are certainly great opportunities as well as risks.

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Licensing is an extremely important area driving sales and new product launches within toys

The penetration of licensed toys in overall toy sales continued to increase across the majority of countries in 2011. With their entertainment media backing, licensed toys often carry a higher price tag than their non-licensed counterparts, allowing higher margins for manufacturers.

Seven out of the top 10 most heavily licensed traditional toys and markets globally are in Asia Pacific.

In almost all of these markets the proportion of 0-14 year-olds in the overall population was below 20% in 2012, suggesting that the grown-up population also has a say in which licensed toys are purchased. Although less than one third of traditional toys and games are licensed, Japan is the largest licensed toys market in the region, accounting for more than half the region’s sales in actual terms.

The US is the birthplace of many international licences and is the biggest licensed toys market globally

Through the influence of its Hollywood blockbuster movies, the US has a huge impact on global toy licensing trends. However, highly anticipated releases such as Transformers 3, Cars 2, Captain America and Thor failed to lift toy sales in 2011, due partly to dwindling movie attendances.

Western Europe is the second largest licensed toy region in the world

In the UK, the market became even more dependent on licensing during the recent recession, at which time cinema takings and DVD rentals were higher than ever. This has given the toy industry more opportunity for expansion into licensing, as well as increased marketing opportunities, at a time when new product development has slowed.

In Eastern Europe only one fifth of toys are licensed

Licensing penetration within traditional toys and games in Eastern Europe remains very low. In Russia, the largest licensed toys market in actual terms in the region, the market has seen rapid growth of 15-20% year-on-year and key manufacturers and retailers are increasingly seeking ways to collaborate with the biggest foreign and local licensors.

Toy brands are increasingly expanding beyond toys via licensing

While children influence decisions on toys, their influence on groceries and household items is much lower. Targeting the right category and demographic, and having brands consumers can relate to are crucial elements of a successful brand licensing concept.

What this report includes

  • Up-to-the minute analysis of the latest trends in the industry
  • New product development, forecasts and other themes
  • Unique graphics and illustrated case studies
  • Most recent brand and company news
  • New insight into the size and shape of the market

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Key findings

Traditional Toys Global Snapshot

Global outlook
Emerging markets most dynamic
Asia Pacific set to become the biggest traditional toy market

Licensing Defined

Penetration of licensed t oys in traditional toys and games
Toys very licence driven…
… especially action figures

Key Toy Licensing Trends by Region

Case study: US
The US: The birthplace of many international licences
Case study: US
Case study : Mattel and Hasbro are locked in a battle in the US
Western Europe: The second largest licensed toy market globally
Case study: UK
Case study: UK
Eastern Europe: Less than one fifth of traditional toys are licensed
Case study: Russia
Case study: Russia
Case study: Russia
Licensing is a big driver of toy sales in Asia Pacific
Case study: Japan
Case study: Japan
Case study: Japan
Latin America: Action figures and pre-school lead
Case study: Mexico
Case study: Mexico

Licensing: Big Business

Licensing: Big business
Mickey gets the force
T oy licensing is hot with new deals and expansion to other sectors
Hasbro partners with Zynga Games

Toy Brands Beyond Toys and Games

Case study: Ferrari derives 20% of its revenue from licensing
Case study: Ferrari and model vehicles
Acquire an existing property or create a new one?
Toys have strong brands, but would they work outside of toys?
Beyond toys and games
Targeting the right categories is key


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